CEDAR PARK, Texas - The Cedar Park Police Department says it has arrested a man who had been messaging and engaging in sexual acts with a minor he encountered on Snapchat.
On May 6, 2021, the mother of the victim reported that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by an unknown male.
Detectives discovered that the victim and adult male first started chatting on Omegle, an online chat website, and then continued to communicate primarily using Snapchat, the social media app.
Based on forensic data obtained through the app, it appears the victim and suspect began chatting in October 2020 and the messages included explicit conversations that were sexual in nature, nude photographs, videos, and discussions of the sexual acts the two had engaged in.
With consent from the family, a detective went undercover using the victim’s Snapchat account. Over the course of the next two days, the male continued to message the victim and stated he would come to the victim’s residence. On May 19, the male arrived at the victim’s house where our Detectives were waiting, and were able to take him into custody without incident.
29-year-old Jorge F Dela Cruz Rodriguez was arrested and taken to the Travis County Jail on a $300,000 bond.
Dela Cruz Rodriguez is charged with online solicitation of a minor, with intent to meet, a second-degree felony. He is also charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony.
The Cedar Park Police Department in a statement wished to share a very important message:
"If you are a parent of a teen or pre-teen, you must be vigilant about what your children do online. Kids and youth are not able to comprehend potential grooming techniques. Communicate with your kids about social media safety. Talk to your kids. Have conversations about how to avoid strangers, how to prevent revealing too much about themselves, and general internet safety. Teach them about some of the social media safety tips to help them learn about what could be red flags. In addition, encourage them to come to you for guidance when questionable content or situations arise."
CPPD also released the following tips for keeping your children safe with social media.
- Educate yourself about social media. Start by finding out what kind of apps and sites your child is interested in. Read app reviews, age limits, and fine print.
- Get a head start. If you don’t have an account on the social media site your child wants to use, get one. Teach yourself the ins and outs of the site. Make sure you know exactly what they can and cannot do, and decide what they should and shouldn’t do.
- Teach your kid about posting on sites. Deleting a post does not mean it’s permanently gone. All their online posts, comments, likes, and shares are a part of their digital footprint. Posting inappropriate content could impact their online reputation. It may not seem like a big deal now, but it could potentially hurt them when they get older and enter college or the job market.
- Let your kids know the importance of privacy. Many social media sites request names, dates of birth, school names, and hometown. Teach your children how much personal information is too much information online. Monitoring your kids’ social media accounts
- Most apps have an age requirement. Enforce it.
- Check the privacy setting on apps regularly. Companies often update their privacy policies. Make sure you read the fine print.
- Consider using a trusted security suite with parental controls on your child’s device. Enable all safety features